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“Celebrate the Bounty”

Not everyone on Hawai‘i Island is lucky enough to enjoy Thanksgiving Day turkey and all the trimmings, shared with family and friends. However, thanks to The Pantry, an innovative and collaborative nonprofit group, everyone is invited to a free community Thanksgiving feast on Thursday, November 22, 12-4 p.m. at Kuhio Hale, Hawaiian Homes Hall, in Waimea.

The Pantry’s Executive Director Beth Mehau and Board of Directors want to emphasize that, rather than a “charity” event—like a food drive or turkey giveaway—Celebrate the Bounty is a “community” event. The focus is on bringing people together, and all are welcome.

“Last year I delivered turkeys to five homes,” said Mehau. “Two went to homes with no electricity and two with no working ovens.” She cooked five turkeys in her own kitchen, and was inspired to find a better model, a more inclusive way to share. “’Celebrate the Bounty’ is modeled after Napa Valley’s Thanksgiving,” said Mehau, “celebrating the sustainability and abundance of North Hawai‘i.”

In support of the sustainability theme, participants are asked to bring their own plate, fork and cup. Church groups with feeding ministries, food pantries, government agencies, schools, businesses and “green” or sustainability organizations are invited to partner with the project and share information at the event.

“We intend for this to be a renaissance of the true meaning of Thanksgiving,” said Mehau, “where this becomes about celebrating the bounty of local fresh produce and the seasonal foods that North Hawaii provides so abundantly.” Our community knows how to feed each other. There really is enough.”

“I love the idea, because it is a place where families can come together in fellowship—to be part of what a real Thanksgiving is all about,” said Board President Verna Chartrand, “We did this on Oahu when I was 15 years old, and it still continues to today… I believe that ‘Celebrate the Bounty’ is going to be something that will grow and grow and grow.”

The Pantry’s First Annual Community Thanksgiving: “Celebrate the Bounty” is free and open to everyone. Please RSVP to help estimate the number of servings to prepare. Donations of cash, food, decorations and services of any kind are gratefully appreciated. This is a drug and alcohol free family event.

The Pantry is a collaborative 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of which Waimea Artists’ Guild and Mama’s House Thrift Shop are components. The Pantry believes that Hawai’i is a place of abundance and plenty, where we can join together in thanks-giving, and share food, fellowship and blessings as a community. To RSVP, volunteer or make a donation, please contact Beth Mehau at 887-2289.